The story going the rounds is that Shahrukh Khan was cooking when John Buchanan, accompanied by Gayle, Mccullum, Hodge and Ganguly came in and said “Look Master what have we brought.”
Shahrukh Khan, too busy with the stew, did not turn around and just said share whatever you have between you.
Then he glanced back and saw that John Buchanan was standing with the “captaincy” golden helmet with him.
And so it came to pass that Kolkata Knight Riders had 5 captains. This is also the reason why rivals would taunt KKR by calling her “Paanch patiyowaali”.
This story would have become true (kind of) had Buchanan been allowed to have his way.
That however with SRK’s latest pronouncement (at the time of writing) is not so sure right now.
After Buchanan’s sensational press conference where he announced the plan of multiple captains with an obviously livid Sourav at his side, Dada presently came up with a statement that Buchanan had only expressed his opinion and that no final decision would be taken in this saans-bahu khitphit before the husband (SRK) came home.
Now that the husband has spoken, it seems that the bahu temporarily has been given the upper hand. Though of course husbands are known for their double-speak, letting both sides think they won, when it comes to mediating between mother and wife.
Jokes aside, Buchanan’s decision to go with “n” number of captains is nothing if not totally bizarre and flies in the face of all kinds of cricketing precedence and of course logic. [Not unprecedented as the captain changes every day in gulli cricket. So do the teams of course.]
There are two ways to look at this decision. One is that it is a potentially revolutionary strategy, challenging accepted cricketing logic, put into place by a visionary. And so in the interests of fairness, we would need to see how it works before we start to lampoon it.
Of course this is based on the assumption that John Buchanan is indeed a visionary. Whether he is a cricketing genius or simply one those rare talents who are able to convince people of their own greatness without much in the way of tangible contribution (like many management and spiritual gurus) by sheer sophistry [in short a gas bag] is of course a matter of debate.
His much touted achievement as the “coach who brought home three World Cups” has to seen in the context of the teams he managed which were so good that even Rakhi Sawant would have done equally well managing them. Besides invoking Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” no one can point to any noteworthy cricketing strategy that Buchanan, who Shane Warne respectfully called a goose with verbal diarrhea came up with .
Except of course this. [Link]
Five years ago, Buchanan, who had given Australia some of its golden moments in cricket, had an ambitious plan to develop ambidextrous cricketers and saw it as a natural progression for the fast-evolving game.
“That would give the effect of having more players than the 11 allowed in the field,” he had said then.
Buchanan’s plan included working with the Australian Cricket Board and the Australian state education departments to have coaches encourage pre-teens to play with both sides of their body, developing skills that could be honed later.
Looking back at IPL 2008, one remembers not a single act of tactical brilliance coming from the coach. One however does remember the buying of non-performing mortgage-backed securities like Ajit Agarkar, Mohammed Hafeez, Tatendra Taibu –decisions which again seemed to fly in the face of logic and statistics.
If there was anything really special that John Buchanan did in 2008 it was that he hired his son as the fitness trainer (bringing a touch of the Congress culture to the team). He also brought in an assistant coach named Mott since one person coaching for a few T20 games for one month a year is too much of a job to handle by oneself.
And if there were not enough coaches and experts already, in 2009 Sir John brought yet another coach (Andy Bichel). [Bengali PJ: There is one bowling coach for Bikel (afternoon). Now we need to hire one for Sokaal (morning).]
Among his other acts of visionary frenzy this year, he signed up 57 players for the KKR squad, more than double of what other teams had. Once you realize that this is the same man who last year jettisoned so many players from the squad of 20-odd mid-season because he felt they had no realistic chance of making the actual team (though these so-called hopeless players had been picked because of their talent a month ago) that you begin to wonder what there is any method to his madness.
Or whether he just comes up with weird ideas just because he can and because it helps perpetuate the “crazy genius” aura.
But maybe this decision of his was not so random at all.
Which brings us to the other way to look at the plan to have multiple captains.
Simply as a measure to keep Sourav Ganguly out of the team. Or more precisely to keep him from being an automatic inclusion (which was the way the trouble with Chappell started out). Now it may be true that Buchanan feels post-retirement Ganguly, never the fittest of players, has let himself go and is not match-fit.
But given that Buchanan as a matter of strategy did not opt for a strong core of A-list Indian batsmen (unlike Delhi and Chennai), dropping Dada [three-time Man Of the Match in IPL 2008] for a series in South Africa just because he is a slow runner between the wickets might seriously compromise the batting line-up.
Because if Buchanan seriously expects Laxmiratan Sukla or Wriddhiman Saha or any of the inexperienced Indian B-level cricketers (who form the KKR batting core) to consistently blaze away in South Africa like they do in India, then maybe he is a bigger goose that some people say he is.
As of now, we IPL fans watch the drama. The “angelic” cheerleaders are dancing in front of “Knight” Dada . The fireworks have begun.
And the tournament has not even started.
[Image courtesy: New Kerala]